Sony, VIZIO Reach DTV Patent Agreements

By: Greg Tarr
October 29, 2009

Irvine, Calif. - In yet another twist to the long-running patent battles between Vizio and a number of TV makers, Vizio revealed Wednesday that both Sony and Vizio are now licensees under each other's TV patent portfolios.

The agreements settle an intellectual property lawsuit filed by Sony a year ago, in which Sony charged Vizio with violations of 14 television patents.

The agreements are also the next in a long-line of legal challenges against Vizio, including Funai's attempts to stop the importation of Vizio products.

Funai, which had acquired certain DTV patents from RCA, sued Vizio and several Asian-based TV makers for patent infringement on elements of ATSC tuning technology.

Fighting back, Vizio then acquired the rights to certain Motorola digital cable TV receiving patents and sued Funai while pursuing agreements from other TV markers - including Sony- that were not previously settled.

In a statement on the action Vizio said: "We are pleased with the result of our patent licensing efforts. It further demonstrates the technical strength and value of Vizio's patent portfolio," said Rob Brinkman, Vizio's operations and administration VP.

Vizio said it continues to expand its intellectual property including the development of new technologies that will be implemented in Vizio's products shipping later this year and beyond.

"Having successfully resolved the disputes, we shall continue to aggressively protect our rights and actively expand Vizio's licensing program. As an owner of patent rights and as a licensee of legitimate patent right held by others, Vizio respects intellectual property and we expect our competitors to do the same," Brinkman added.

In a statement issued Thursday Sony said: "In October 2008, Sony filed litigation against Vizio in the Federal District Court for the Central District of California for infringement of 14 of Sony's patents related to color televisions and PC monitors. The parties have now settled all current patent litigation between them, with Vizio becoming a paying licensee under Sony's patents for color televisions and PC monitors.

"Additionally, under the settlement, during its term, Sony will be licensed under any patents that Vizio purchased this year related to color televisions, as well as any they may own in the future that are related to color televisions or PC monitors," the statement concluded.